Looking for a cheap yet capable 4×4? Well now you can have yourself one of the toughest off-roaders ever built for an absolute bargain. As long as you don’t mind it painted camouflage.
Back in the late 80s, the Australian Army needed a fleet of vehicles capable of dealing with the harsh conditions of the Australian outback. The answer was a hardened military spec Land Rover 110. The fleet has provided over 20 years of faithful service to the Australian Defence Forces in just about all conditions. And now the Army is selling off thousands of old Land Rovers to make way for a new fleet of Mercedes G Wagons.>
The entire fleet is being prepared and sold at auction by Australian Frontline Machinery along with other outgoing vehicles. You can buy ex-army Land Rovers in 4×4 and 6×6 in a range of different configurations. A few years ago, these trucks were hard to come by and extremely sought after. Accordingly, they were expensive (around $20K) and you’d pay even more for a 6×6. Now the market is being flooded and you can pick one up for as little as $5K at auction.
So why do you want one of these ex-army work horses? Well, let’s start with the power plant which is not actually a Land Rover engine. The standard diesel built at the time wasn’t tough enough for the Aussies. So instead they transplanted an Isuzu 3.9L diesel truck engine. Put simply, these engines are virtually bullet proof and are good for around 500 thousand kilometres before they require and overhaul.
Most of the Land Rovers that have been put up for auction to date haven’t hit 120K on the odometer yet. And the Australian Army is pretty anal on insuring routine services are conducted on all their vehicles. So despite their age, they still have a huge amount of life left in them. Durability is what these trucks were built for. The body is all aluminium with heavy duty paint and the steel chassis has been double galvanised to further prevent corrosion.
There are some setbacks in buying an ex-army vehicle however. It would be fair to say that these particular Land Rovers don’t include any creature comforts. Any serviceman who has plonked their ass into an Army Land Rover won’t recall fond memories over long trips. Things like radios and AC were definitely not standard issue.
And if you want to keep your ex-Army Land Rover once you’ve bought it, then you’ll need to buy aftermarket door looks and a turn-key ignition barrel as they’re not included either. However, these vehicles are extremely simple and you can source the components from any reputable Land Rover aftermarket supplier.
So while these Land Rovers aren’t very good daily drivers, they’re a fantastic weekend bush basher that is very affordable.